138 | TELL VENDORS YOU SAW THEIR AD IN TODAY’S BRIDE When does the ceremony rehearsal and dinner take place? The ceremony rehearsal traditionally takes place the day before the wedding. You can host the meal prior to or after the ceremony rehearsal, or you can hold both on an entirely different day. Who should we invite? Everyone involved in the ceremony should attend the rehearsal including: bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, flower girl & ring bearer, Officiant, readers, and musi- cians. It’s considerate to invite the spouse or significant other of each attendant, also. Regarding the dinner, the guest list can be as simple as including your immediate family, the wedding par- ty, and their significant others, though it’s becoming more popular to make it a larger event for out-of-town guests. If you prefer an intimate gathering but don’t want to exclude other guests, consider hosting the re- hearsal dinner two nights before the wedding day and having a welcome party for out-of-town guests the night before the wedding. Where should we hold the dinner? The rehearsal dinner should be held near or at the cere- mony site. It’s considerate and fun to vary the dinner options from the wedding meal — such as offering steak or seafood if you’re having an Italian menu at your re- ception — so guests can have different experiences! Where you decide to have the rehearsal dinner depends on the budget of whoever is throwing it (traditionally the groom's parents), who is in attendance, and what kind of party the host envisions. Most commonly, re- hearsal dinners are held at local restaurants, though you can use a banquet hall or your reception venue, too. What takes place at the rehearsal dinner? Traditionally, the Best Man offers a toast to the soon- to-be spouses. The groom then follows with a toast to his bride and her parents. You should make sure that all guests are introduced to one another, either by formal introductions or through mingling. A special touch would be to introduce your wedding party and say something personal about each one, like how you met or why you asked them to be in your wedding. Keep in mind, though, that this party is meant to be thrown to honor you and your fiancé. If you’d rather have a more relaxed and casual atmosphere with no formal speeches, that’s not required! The rehearsal dinner is a great time to relax with your family and friends without worrying too much about tradition. Rehearsal THE REHEARSAL DINNER